The Maritime Alps Nature Park (Valdieri)
The Maritime Alps Nature Park
For years, it has held a strategic twinning with the French Mercantour National Park, ideally creating a large European park; but, in the meantime, the Maritime Alps Nature Park is already the largest regional protected area in Piedmont and already figures among the largest regional parks in our country. The two natural reserves share a border of more than 30 kilometers and manage 100,000 hectares of land, which in the past were part of the Italian King’s hunting reserve.
The Italian protected area is divided between the Gesso, the Stura, and the Vermenagna Valleys and sees an area greatly shaped by ancient ice movement and is rich in rivers, waterfalls, and lakes due to a geological substratum which is not very permeable. The 3,297 meters of Mount Argentera and the roof of the Maritime Alps stand out in this panorama.
The extreme in climate is caused by the simultaneous presence of the heights that surpass 3,000 meters and the influxes from a close proximity to the sea. The result is the presence of an enormous floral heritage in the park, which is made-up of more than 2,600 different species, many more than are catalogued at the Valderia Botanical Garden at the Valdieri Hot Springs. In special cases, such as the case of orchids, the park has samples of half the species registered in Italy.
Regarding fauna, there is a significant presence of marmots, hares, ermines, stone martens, and pekans. The chamois are numerous, but other hoofed animals exist (ibexes, deer, boars, and moufflons) and also wolves have chosen to return to these mountains after a long absence. The avifauna includes all the species typical of the western alpine area and many migratory birds. Certainly one of the most striking moments is when one is able to watch the flight of the lammergeyer and the golden eagle.
The work that was necessary prior to moving land that was part of the king’s hunting ground and the fortification work carried out on the eve of WWII left, in these mountains, as an inheritance of dozens of kilometers of military roads, mule tracks, and trails that cover the park’s valleys. These are works that were, at times, paved, banked, and cut into the rocks and which today offer numerous “classic” routes to excursionists who want to experience the emotions that led Vittorio Emanuele II to make this his own.
Immagini: Archivio Ce.D.R.A.P -A. Farina
Area: 27,954 hectares
Altitude: 820 - 3,297 meters
Piazza Regina Elena, 30 - 12010 Valdieri (Cn)
Tel. +39.0171.97397 - Fax: +39.0171.97542
Date of last update: 11/12/2012